Song Fu / SpinTunes

Masters of Song Fu – Update #6

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The third challenge is up and ready to begin. They’re down to just two Masters and two Challengers now, with the final round approaching soon. The latest challenge is a bit of a stinker:-

Your task is to write a country ballad – using a backstory of your own creation – called “The Ballad of Rufus Amos Adams“.

To me this is a bit of a wide-open challenge – really the song could be about anything so long as Rufus is mentioned somewhere. Time for some self-imposed restrictions to get the brain something to grab onto, but what should they be? Country is not a musical genre I’m particularly familiar with beyond the ‘classics’, and have almost no experience writing anything in that vein. The possible exceptions to that being ‘The Middle Eastern Western’, which was just a country backing to some Gulf War (v1) and old cowboy film samples, and more recently ‘Stobby’, which has a bit of a country-rock sound to it in places.

So, what makes a good country song? 10 seconds googling gives us a list for the attributes required for the ‘perfect’ country song. They are as follows:-

  1. Clever lyrics (a pun, a joke, or a play on words, preferably in the title of the song)
  2. Regret
  3. A stalwart, but flawed, protagonist
  4. A pedal steel guitar
  5. Alcohol (of course)
  6. Reverence for the land, especially the South

Steve Goodman and John Prine also suggest:-

  1. Mama
  2. Trains
  3. Trucks
  4. Prison
  5. Gettin’ drunk
  6. Farms
  7. Dead dogs
  8. Christmas

Arguments about lists like this could rage for decades, but it seem like a good start based on the country songs I’m familiar with, so here’s my additional challenge:-

Include at least 10 of the subjects required for a perfect country song from the supplied list.

Of course, I will try to get them all in the song, but that might be just too much to ask!

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